United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate for St Lucy Wayne Griffith is urging Barbadians to beware of the “empty promises” being made by other political parties on the campaign trail in the run-up to the May 24 general election.
Delivering his maiden speech last night at Sutherland St Lucy, just a stone’s throw away from his childhood home, in front of a small crowd which included his Barbados Labour Party (BLP) rival for the constituency Peter Phillips, Griffith said political organizations should refrain from touting unrealistic promises.
“A lot of the other political parties you see them in the media and they say we are going to remove the NSRL [National Social Reconstruction Levy] , we are going remove the fees that are stopping you from sending your children to the University of the West Indies. I know you are intelligent people, when someone says they will do A , B or C we must also follow up and ask them, ‘how they are going to do such things?’
“All we are hearing is these promises that sound really nice, dressed up very pretty, but are empty. I looked into a manifesto a couple elections ago and it said, we promise to build an island off Barbados and there is no island. We need to stop accepting these monkey promises, trying to fool people about what can and cannot happen.”
Griffith, an information technology business analyst, who officially launched his bid for the rural seat held by the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Denis Kellman, took aim at the island’s two oldest parties, claiming that both the DLP and the BLP were bankrupt of ideas to take the country forward.
“There are no ideas coming from the Democratic Labour Party and I can tell you for sure that there are none inside the Barbados Labour Party. We need some imagination when it comes to managing this country. The same old doesn’t cut it,” the former avid BLP campaigner said.
“We need a new operating system in our economy and in this country. What has been happening for too long in Barbados is that is we have only been experiencing two political parties and both of them are called labour parties and that should tell you that these parties are similar and I would like to thank them for bringing Barbados through independence, but at this point we need transformation.”
He also told the gathering that the island should break its strong dependency on the tourism sector, regarded as the island’s bread and butter industry.
“We only tend to rely on tourists but yet there is less income and revenue being earned in that sector unlike before. We know that statistics show that Barbados has received more tourists than ever, so why is it we are receiving and welcoming more tourists and yet we are not seeing any money? There is something wrong in that sector,” he said.
Griffith cautioned that Barbados was showing the symptoms of a “midlife crisis”, lamenting that Government had imposed too many taxes to halt the economic slide.
“We can’t tend to go up, down or left or right, all we get is taxation. When you have this type of scenario happening in an economy. We need to understand that the issue isn’t tax. The problem is that we need to have more revenue coming into the country. We can only spend so much, we cannot be just printing money and think that will fix our problem,” the UPP political hopeful warned.